David MacDougall
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The strangers within us
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This chapter examines the experience common to many documentary filmmakers of being both outside and inside their subjects. Relationships between filmmakers and subjects vary greatly but they are often close and sometimes all-consuming. In making portrait films, filmmakers frequently feel a strong desire for their work to embody the subject in some total sense, beyond the simple representation of appearance and personality. At the same time they may experience a sense of inadequacy in trying to express the immensity of another person’s life. In this chapter the author uses one of his own experiences of making a portrait film to examine the larger processes and imponderables involved in the attempt.

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The art of the observer

A personal view of documentary

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